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Germany: Saint Lambertus Cathedral Gets Demolished for Coal Mining


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Saint Lambertus Cathedral, located in Immerath, a small village northwest of Cologne, was torn last week to the ground as plans of the German energy supply company RWE for lignite mining ramble on.  

The cathedral, a gothic, double-spired structure built in the 1880´s, has a rich and long history.  With its beginnings dating back to the 8th century, it was raised up in Carolingian style.  Later on in 1185, after a fire destroyed it, the cathedral was rebuilt in Gothic style, restored by the Archbishop of Cologne, and the relics of Saint Lambert (which had been in safe storage since the fire) reinstalled in the new building.

Still, after that, the structure had been subject to further remodeling, and it was until October 2013 that the church held its last Mass Service before being deconsecrated.

But actually, it was not only the church that has been removed, virtually the small village of Immerath of some 1.200 inhabitants has been relocated, including the hospital and cemetery about seven miles away, so that RWE can take over the land and mine for brown coal. A village chapel with a modern design has also been constructed, with a small replica of the demolished cathedral placed in the new village’s plaza. These actions have met with protesting from Greenpeace activists waving banners stating @ENDCOAL. 

Chancellor Merkel, known as “the Climate Chancellor”  has also met with increasing criticism after allegedly phasing out Germany´s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 2020, an argument she brought forth through last September elections.  So, the expansion of coal mining is in conflict with these environmental goals, as is the case with Immerath´s open pit mining of lignite, or brown coal, which is easily recovered from shallow earth underground layers.  

This type of coal for energy is termed the dirtiest from its high carbon dioxide emissions, and Germany derives 40 percent of its energy supply from brown coal-fired power plants.  The coal under Immerath could produce billions of tons of carbon emissions over the coming decades, the Huffington Post reports.

The German news agency DPA reported a political agreement between Merkel´s Union block and the center-left Social Democrats giving up the country’s target of a 40 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020 compared with 1990.

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